Bossier City's CrossFit Mutare Owner Manny Coya looks on as CrossFit athlete Dale Biggs trains on the rowing machine. (Photo by Sean Green/Press-Tribune)

CrossFit provides fitness devotees a sense of community and support

It’s almost the new year, which means many people will be trying to make good on their resolutions, including physical fitness.

It’s a trend that has Manny Coya, owner of CrossFit Mutare in Bossier City, getting prepared to help change people’s lives for the better.

“We see people trying something new and different,” he said. “CrossFit is for anyone at any age. It makes you an athlete again.”

By definition, CrossFit is functional movement at a high intensity, meaning it’s based on training the body for movement that will serve someone well in his/her daily life.

“That’s whether it’s an the elite SWAT team or the mom who has to wrestle and chase kids around all day long,” Manny explained.

But more importantly, he pointed out that CrossFit has a built-in community. He said that having a community keeps people on track and consistent with their workouts.

“People grow together when they suffer,” Manny smiled wryly. “Sports, natural disasters, and war bring people together. This is a team sport platform that draws people together.”

And the benefit is that by having that band of brothers, it will help the athlete-in-training achieve his/her goals.

“We have a community that can help people reach their potential,” Manny said.

And that community has played a major role in how the south Florida native ended up in Bossier City and has gotten through some difficult times.

Manny and his wife, Dana, met at Florida State University where he was a Strength and Conditioning Coach and she was a softball player. They were married in 2000 and Manny continued as a coach and trainer while Dana became a mother. They were introduced by a friend to Crossfit in 2010 and “jumped in with all four feet.”

In January 2011, Manny, Dana, and their four boys moved to Lima, Peru to open a CrossFit box. CrossFit Mutare became the name which means “to be transformed.” Unfortunately, Dana was diagnosed with cancer and the couple moved to Dana’s hometown of Bossier City in 2014. They worked with Dana’s father, Gary Bailey, to open CrossFit Mutare on 4353 Viking Loop.

Tragically, Dana passed away and Manny has dedicated himself to his passion, and Dana’s passion, to help people transform their fitness and wellness. It proves that his — and by extension —Dana’s story, is far from finished.

“It’s been a community that has sustained me,” Manny said.

His passion and value of that community has led him to reach out to support the community at large, such as providing training to the Bossier Sheriff’s Office SWAT and CERT teams.

“It’s important for people to know that those who are called on to protect them are in shape enough to protect them,” said Manny. “We’re fortunate to work with the deputies and we have a Sheriff who realizes that with the work they do, it is highly necessary to be functionally fit.

“They need to be ready at all time for any situation that can come up,” he added.
As for the average person, Manny admits that CrossFit can be very intimidating from the image that is presented on sports channels. However, he advises that anyone can get involved at their own pace.

“CrossFit is a sport and has a competitive aspect for people who want to do that,” Manny said. “It’s not a conventional gym. It’s an experience and we encourage everyone to come out and try it.”

He wants the public to know that if they want to be part of a community and better themselves, there is a place for them.

“It’s never too late to start, you’re never too old or out of shape. Every workout will be tailor made to your ability, you don’t come in where we’re at. If they have injuries, limitations our coaching staff will gear the workout so they can participate,” Manny said.

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